Godolphin had certainly done their homework before today’s announcement that James Cummings, grandson of legendary 12-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Bart Cummings, is to be their new head trainer in Australia.
This is one of the most high-profile, most high-pressure and most prestigious jobs in world racing - Australia is the operation’s most successful arena worldwide when it comes to results in Group and Graded racing - and they have chosen a young trainer superbly equipped for the role.
James Cummings, 29, was the fastest-rising trainer in the world in 2016 on TRC statistics. His total points in the TRC Global Rankings for trainers increased by 42 over the course of the 12 months, elevating him a remarkable 397 places to world number 79 by the end of December. Stable star has been dual G1 winner Prized Icon.
Cummings joins Godolphin after almost a decade at the famed Leilani Lodge stables at Randwick as foreman, co-trainer with his grandfather, and ultimately as head trainer. Bart Cummings died in 2015.
He takes over from John O’Shea, who enjoyed notable success for Sheikh Mohammed’s operation, which has Australian stables at Warwick Farm near Sydney, at Flemington, and at Osborne Park, a private training complex on Sydney's north-western outskirts.
O’Shea, who resigned last month, took over from Peter Snowden in May 2014. He has trained more than 500 winners, including ten in Group 1s under Sheikh Mohammed's Darley and Godolphin banner.
Godolphin’s Managing Director in Australia, Henry Plumptre, said Cummings was exactly the person Godolphin needed to fill such a pivotal role.
“James is a great fit for Godolphin, and his appointment is an exciting new chapter in the Godolphin story in Australia. In a short space of time, James has established himself as one of the most talented trainers in Australia and he has all the attributes to take us in the direction we want to go as a racing team both on and off the track.”
Speaking of his appointment, James Cummings commented, “It is truly an honor to be asked to join the Godolphin team as the head trainer in Australia, and I am very grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for the opportunity.
“I am confident in my experience and I definitely have the enthusiasm to build on the incredible success that has already been achieved by Godolphin in Australia.
“I have been very fortunate in my career so far to have learnt my trade from some of the best in the business, and I will be forever grateful to the fantastic and loyal owners that have supported me in my career so far, in particular Eduardo Cojuanco Jnr and Dato Tan Chin Nam.
Cummings will take up his new position on Saturday, July 8.
Darren Beadman will remain the interim head trainer until that date and will then continue with the team in his original role of assistant trainer.